In an earlier post, I briefly described a violent encounter I had with a JW. Thankfully, I had my Go-Pro with me and running and captured the entire event on video.
The JW was arrested and I gave my SD card to the police as evidence. That case has now been resolved and, just last week (on or around 11-27-2014), the SD card was finally returned to me after well over a year in the possession of law enforcement.
The video should be up and running on Youtube shortly. Today’s post will give some background on what happened that fateful day.
I have been doing outreaches at JW summer conventions for over 20 years. In Tucson, AZ, they are held each summer at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC). At lunch time, many of the thousands of JW’s that attend each convention leave the TCC arena hall and have something to eat. They will sit or walk by a certain area by the hundreds on the grounds of the TCC.
In this particular area, I will place gospel tracts and, more recently, pair the tracts with a DVD titled, “Witnesses of Jehovah.” I place these in areas where I know the JW’s will be sitting and having their lunches. It is astonishing how many of these tracts and DVD’s the Witnesses will pick up and carry away. Since they will never accept any literature from me if I simply offer it to them, I have found this strategy to work amazingly well.
I was placing these resources on the grounds at the TCC when the incident happened with the JW who went berserk on me. Understand that what I was doing is perfectly legal: the TCC is taxpayer owned property and I, as a taxpayer whose taxes help maintain this public facility, have every right to be on the grounds and exercise my first amendment rights.
Engrossed in my task at hand, this JW, Gene Veal from the Phoenix, AZ area, was walking his dog. Evidently seeing what I was doing, he became upset. If my memory serves me correctly, it was he who first initiated contact with me; I was busily engaged in placing the packets of information and had only a certain amount of time before the Witnesses would break for lunch. You can see the packets I had in my right hand in the video.
The video tells the rest of the story. As an amateur video-maker, editing videos for Youtube is always a challenge: I like to keep my videos under five minutes in length, and to do this you must be selective in the clips you use. There is much more video on this interaction that what is shown but again, brevity is important.
I immediately called the police, but it was over an hour before they showed up. I explained to one of the officers that arrived that I had video of the entire altercation and he suggested I give it to him right then and there. I did not want to do this because I wanted to make a copy of the video, knowing full well that I might never get this priceless footage returned to me. I would then provide a copy to the police.
The officer explained that this would not be a good idea because of the possibility I might selectively edit the video before giving the SD card to them. The lawyers handling this case might then argue that I doctored the video and it would lose its value as evidence. Reluctantly, I agreed and turned over the card.
After about an hour of the police, myself, and the JW’s going back and forth in our explanations of what happened, I was told by the police that both of us were to be arrested. I was dumbstruck. Me, arrested? Whatever for?
As usual, the JW’s lied and made up some phony story that I was the aggressor. Was I surprised by their lying behavior? Certainly not. I have dealt with JW’s for over three decades and I have learned at least three things about this group: they are blatant liars, hypocrites and many of them are prone to violence.
Ours was a “field arrest.” Nobody went to jail (I was disappointed by this because I thought nothing would be better for Gene if he spent a night or two behind bars); we were cited and released.
I knew my trumped up charge would never stand; I have decades of experience in free speech and knew I did nothing illegal. As I expected, my case was quickly dismissed and all charges against me were dropped. Gene Veal, though, was not so fortunate, and my video evidence would be the nail in his coffin.
The case never made it to trial; because Gene did not have a prior police record, he was able to go into a “diversion program” where he had to do perform some community service, pay a fine, and the charge would not go on his record.
I did not want this but felt strongly that he needed to have this assault on his record. What would happen the next time he went ballistic on the next Christian he might meet at a subsequent convention? The guy is obviously a ticking time bomb. An assault charge on his record might cause him to think twice before he pulled this violence on someone else because being convicted of a second offense would probably land him in the slammer for a long vacation.
Gene hired an attorney to represent him. For the pretrial conferences, Gene had to drive down from the Phoenix area on at least two different times, maybe three or more.
At one of these pretrial conferences, inside a packed courtroom in Tucson, I inadvertently sat next to Gene, not more than a couple of feet from him. After a few minutes, I recognized him and said something (what, I can’t remember; it was over a year ago). He flared up in anger again, and I think I laughed. The guy is hopeless, a walking time bomb waiting to explode.
Fortunately for Gene, I was on a two and a half month preaching outreach in California when his trial finally came up, so I was not able to be there. Because of my absence, the district attorney and Gene’s attorney cut the deal I described above, against my wishes. Had I been there, I’m not certain if it would have altered their final agreement in any way, but as the victim, I had some say in the matter.
The problem for Gene getting a conviction was the lack of an injury on my part. I guess for an assault to be taken seriously by the court system, they need to see your blood flow or broken bones. Since I wasn’t hurt, and Gene didn’t have a prior arrest record, they went easy on him. He got lucky.
But the man is unrepentant. He never apologized to me, showing further proof that he is just another JW thug. These people are a dime a dozen in this false, hypocritical religious sham and I have decades of experience in dealing with their nonsense.